Thanksgiving is a time to come together and spend time with our friends and family and enjoy each others’ company and great food. Unfortunately, sometimes there ends up being too many cooks in the kitchen or not enough burners on the stove. So how do you create a perfect Thanksgiving? Step 1: Be organized!
- At least one week before Thanksgiving, create your meal plan. Keep in mind your timeline for dinner prep–you can’t cook 3 things at 3 different temperatures at once. Also remember that you only have so many burners on the stove.
- Evaluate your meal plan and decide what can be made ahead of time. Dishes such as mashed potatoes can be made a few hours in advance and still taste fresh. Just wait to add seasoning and butter until dinnertime.
- Before grocery shopping, take a moment to organize your fridge. You know what you are going to need to fit in there (which is one reason why Tetris was such an important game), so begin cleaning out old leftovers. Remove items that don’t necessarily need to be refrigerated, such as unopened jars of jams or pickles and toss expired sauces and dressings. Hearty produce, such as apples and potatoes, can be stored in a cool dry place instead of in the fridge.
- Photo copy your favorite Thanksgiving recipes and keep them in one folder together. This prevents you from having to flip through several recipe books to check each recipe. You can even use skirt/pant hangers to hang your recipes off of your cabinet knobs to go hands free!
- Since family and guests tend to congregate in the kitchen, decide ahead of time which tasks you are willing to delegate to those who insist on helping. You may not want someone to take over making the gravy, but letting someone else take drink orders and open wine bottles will give you more time to attend to last minute cooking details.
- Be prepared to make the most of your oven space by using a tiered oven rack, which will let you cook multiple casseroles simultaneously.
- Don’t be afraid to delegate side dishes to guests. Just request that they bring dishes that can be served cold or at room temperature so that your timeline is not interrupted.
- The day before Thanksgiving, set aside all the dishes for the table. You can prep the centerpieces the night before as well, but delegate setting the table to an early-arrival. They will feel helpful, and you will feel less crowded in the kitchen!
- Create a self-serve dessert station away from the table. Then when dinner is over and it’s time for sweets, guests can help themselves while you whisk away dinner dishes.
- Lastly, let people help with the cleanup! Know which cleanup tasks you do not want to delegate, and have a list ready of those you do want to delegate. But don’t let cleanup get in the way of your holiday–wash sharp knives and then let the other dishes soak if you’d prefer to relax first and clean later!
Most of all, take the time to enjoy the company of your family and friends!